For the last several months, President Obama has used his considerable rhetoric talents to turn the public’s attention to deficits, arguing that the government needs to tighten its belt in response to mounting debt. This has driven liberals insane, especially since the president has yet to present any major ideas for job creation, despite 9.1 percent unemployment and a looming double-dip recession.
However, if this report from the Associated Press is any indication, liberals won’t have to wait long for presidential rhetoric on jobs. According to the AP, a “senior administration official” says President Obama will use a major speech in early September to “lay out new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class.” If his recent statements on his bus tour are any indication, the president’s plan will contain new payroll tax cuts, renewed unemployment benefits, infrastructure spending, and – in a new twist – proposals to specifically help the long-term unemployed.
In addition, the president will offer a debt-reduction plan as an alternative to the “Supercommittee”. Obama’s proposal will be larger than prospective plan from the committee, will be aimed at striking a balance between short-term economic growth and long-term fiscal sustainability – an approach long advocated by liberal policy wonks and (now-former) members of the Obama administration.
At The Plum Line, Greg Sargent notes one important detail about the White House’s plan for September. According to the unnamed administration official, President Obama knows that he will face strong opposition from Republicans, and as such, “is already preparing to lobby the American public for support if Congress tosses his ideas aside.”
For liberals who really want the president to make greater use of the “bully pulpit,” this is good news. For the rest of us, it’s a mixed bag. It’s true that by hammering on job creation, Obama might bolster his image and bring the public to his side. But the bully pulpit won’t convince Mitch McConnell to give Democatic economic policies an up or down vote, nor will it convince 25 House Republicans to vote with Nancy Pelosi and help Barack Obama. Republicans don’t want job creation programs, and the country isn’t going to get them.